If you found this blog while trying to find more information on what PRM is, you’re asking the wrong question—and you can’t afford not to understand why.
You may have heard this from us before, but if you've merely scanned over our earlier pleas that you avoid this toxic acronym and are still scouring the internet for information on what a PRM is, we're begging you to drop this term entirely. It's 2017, and using late-'90s tech terminology like “PRM” doesn't make anyone look good—not vendors, not partners, and not clients. Especially not when we're talking about something that is so fundamental as the software that sets the groundwork for your entire presence in the channel. What you should be searching for is information on sales acceleration tools.
It's not just a concern about sounding old-fashioned in a cloud-based world that we're hung up on here. There are plenty of reasons that the term “PRM” isn't just antiquated—it's inaccurate.
Sales acceleration is not just a flashy-sounding term more suited to today's enterprise computing environment—it's a more accurate one. So by exploring where the term “PRM” gets it wrong and where sales acceleration software gets it right, you'll have a better understanding of what partnering can do for you in today's business landscape and what you can do for your partners and their clients as you build out—and accelerate—your channel program.
Client success is both the beginning and the end of channel partnering. You're putting your product into a client's hands through a reliable partner so that both of your businesses can meet a client's need and keep them on board. It is a situation in which everyone involved gains momentum and builds revenue together.
PRMs lack the capability to really communicate needs between clients and partners, let alone facilitate the kind of support that partners now give their clients on cloud-based solutions. In short, PRMs just can't do what today's client needs. With acceleration tools, this level of client-centric interactivity is built into the solution.
The "M" in “PRM” makes up one-third of the acronym, but for us, it represents a proportionally bigger part of the problem. "Managing" implies handling a task—crossing something off of the list and moving on to the next thing. But the responsibilities you have to your channel—and your channel has to you—go far beyond just something to check off a to-do list once a week.
Channel partnerships are constantly growing and changing. Interacting with all your partners and staying on top of their performance, analyzing the data on how your solution is benefiting clients and using that to improve your solution, bringing in other players to meet client needs, and any of the other myriad demands to move forward require constant communication. And it's communication that's not just one-way. Everybody needs to talk to everybody else, and all the information needs to be archived and easily accessible with a user-friendly interface.
While the PRMs of bygone years set you up to have a simple baseline of communication with partners, acceleration software keeps the conversation going. Acceleration isn't just something you do; it's a part of your company's culture—a way of understanding what you're there for that your entire strategy flows from.
In today's economy, high-quality, robust data and analytics drive the decisions of the businesses that get to the top and stay there. In structuring, managing, and tweaking a channel program, you need data at every step to determine if you're on the right track and to inform what moves you need to take. These aren't gut-feel decisions anymore.
And while certainly you still need to interpret the data with the type of knowledge and wisdom we tend to think of as part of the "gut instinct," data gives you a clear view of what is actually going on so that even when you "go with your gut," it's based on a real-world situation, not a blind roll of the dice. Questions like “How much of your content are your partners using?” are ones that you need to know the answer to in order to determine both how effective the content itself is and how effective the partnerships are.
In the days of PRMs, the sections dealing with content— if there were any—were just lackluster repositories where files that nobody used piled up. Sales acceleration tools, on the other hand, are right there alongside the rest of today's top solutions, gathering data on how well your partners are making use of your resources and turning that data into actionable information to help you hone your partner program.